#fantastic / drama / future / motherly love / sacrifice / dystopia / postapo / colonialism / Polish premiere
drama, sci-fi / Canada, New Zealand / 2021 / 1h 37m
A future nightmare inscribed in our past.
In the not-too-distant future, North America ceased to be the land of the free. The American Dream is over – now, the totalitarian nightmare reigns supreme. After a destructive war that devastated both the United States and Canada, nothing will ever be the same. The occupying forces have gained absolute control over society and one of their common practices is taking young children away from their parents and putting them in a forced education camp, where they are programmed to become the state’s exclusive property. Niska objects to such indignity: defying the odds, she resists relentlessly against the state, her motherly love stronger than walls or police forces. For years she hides with her daughter deep in the forest. Unfortunately, living in the woods is as hard as it is beautiful, not to mention it doesn’t fail to surprise. When 11-year-old Waseese gets caught in the snares, the echo of the latching trap is not the only thing in the air. Unrelenting fate seems to have trapped the women as well. Now, Niska has to make a difficult decision. She can either let her daughter die of the exacerbating illness or hand her over to the state, giving her a chance for survival. The mother chooses life. She won’t give up so easily, though. Soon, she joins forces with members of the rebellion to free Waseese… But time is running out, and her daughter might end up completely brainwashed.
Danis Goulet’s full-length debut, “Night Raiders” is an atmospheric sci-fi thriller dealing with such topics as the fight for future generations, sovereignty, and solidarity. The talented director, and author of acclaimed short films, makes an important statement on one of the most shameful cards in Canada’s history under the guise of an action drama. Her work takes a bold and irreverent stance on the situation of North America’s Indigenous Peoples who experienced such dystopian scenarios first-hand well before they emerged as trendy subject matter for filmmakers. The mark of the real-life forced assimilation of children, perpetuated by colonizing forces in Canada, the USA, Australia, and other corners of the world, is evident in the story. The memory of a cruel past makes “Night Raiders” poignant not only due to its plot, violence, and unsettling atmosphere but primarily because of its implications. Goulet comments on the cruelty of the real world without resorting to excessive displays of suffering but still allowing the pain to resonate sufficiently.
One of the film’s executive producers is Taika Waititi, co-creator and one of the leads in “What We Do in the Shadows” and director and screenwriter of “Jojo Rabbit.”
directed by: Danis Goulet
screenplay: Danis Goulet
starring: Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Brooklyn Letexier-Hart, Alex Tarrant, Amanda Plummer, and others
cinematography: Daniel Grant
editing: Jorge Weisz
languages: Cree, English
WORLD PREMIERE: Berlin International Film Festival 2021
Age restriction: 16+